By Guest Blogger:

John Roberts, Co-Founder

Qustodian

Like many, you may be finding it increasingly difficult to get your messages through to your members. Cutting through the noise with email, social media and even direct mail, is ever more difficult in our busy and distracted smartphone world.

However, with creative new media, it does appear there are ways to stand out from the crowd, and below I provide 5 steps to significantly boost your engagement rates. And with higher engagement, you’ll increase participation and, consequently, renewals.

When we did it, we consistently achieved 60-70% engagement levels with up to half a million readers over a period of 4 years. So worth considering…

But let’s start with a word or two about what we mean by engagement, which unlike many in the industry, doesn’t mean a “read”. Actually, it’s creating a set of circumstances (our 5 steps), to ensure that your audience want to look at, and interact with, your content, for mutual benefit. As Alan Moore (author, speaker and one of original thought-leaders behind Qustodian) put it, “Engagement Marketing is the process of involving consumers in the co-creation of brand experiences with two-way flows of information”. In other words, give your members the tools to interact with, and personalise, your content and they will embrace it.

So without further ado, here are the 5 steps:

1. Put your readers in control

Like it or not, using today’s mass communications media to communicate with your audience is intrusive. Email and social, the largest media currently used by membership organisations, is competing with everyone else for their attention. And becomes overwhelming (I read a couple of days ago that the average height of scrolling on Facebook per day is the height of the Statue of Liberty, ie. 93 metres!). Putting your readers in total control of what they see, when and how often is fundamental to ensuring they are relaxed when they interact with you. How…

2. Go Mobile

We’re all too busy nowadays, but somehow we all manage to find over an hour a day to do stuff on our phones that is un-related to work. And the way to capture a few of those ‘snackable, time-filling, me-moments’ of genuine attention, is via your own app. Yet, according to the MemberWise Digital Excellence 2019 Research, less than 30% of organisations have an app (mostly for events), despite 72% of members stating satisfaction for app interactions. Apps give you a dedicated channel for direct member interaction and the means to…

3. Make it interactive

Flat content pages just don’t cut through. With a device with enough processing power to send someone to the moon, your communications should be personalised, smart, multi-media and interactive, with two-way communication so people can interact with it as much or as little as they choose. And with that measured interaction, you can provide…

4. Value exchange

As Memberwise’s Richard Gott emphasises, your membership value proposition is absolutely critical to your success, and the ability to exchange further value with your members when they interact with your communications is key to boosting engagement rates. And value can come in many different forms, including rewards, offers, exclusivity, prizes, having a say, direct involvement and, perhaps above all, …

5. Fun

Once you’ve created the platform environment for points 1 to 4 above, it’s all about making it fun for your audience, and you. Believe it or not, most content you create can be “funified” once you start to play with it. News (with polls), training videos (with tests), regulatory updates (with quizzes) and of course playful, social-style posts and competitions provide the cherry-on-top-of-your-iced-bun-of-content to super-charge your engagement rates!

So there you have it – 5 steps to 50%.

John Roberts is one of the founders of Qustodian and built his expertise in mobile audience engagement, not by being particularly clever (although he did talk to some clever people), but rather through the school of trial and (many) errors in building and launching a mobile consumer service for half a million real people in the UK and Spain.